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Kids can take to the sky this coming weekend

--- May 6 program promotes future pilots

Donna Lenz Wright/The Week

(Published April 30, 2007, 3:19 p.m.)

Take the kids for a free airplane ride this Sunday, May 6, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Palmyra Municipal Airport, for the 12th Annual Young Eagle Initiative event hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Chapter 1177.

The event promotes future pilots and the Aero Scholar program, a college credit course with a curriculum focused on math, science and physics with an aviation theme.

"The Aero Scholar program is the answer to the question, 'How will I use math, science (and physics) when I'm grown?'" said Steve Sorge, pilot and EAA member.

The event is for youth ages 10 to 17 years old from Waukesha, Walworth and Jefferson counties to enjoy a free airplane ride, ask questions and see if becoming a pilot is something they'd like to pursue, Sorge said.

"Plus it's an opportunity to get a different perspective of our area's countryside," he adds.

The event averages 100 airplane rides each year locally with the national count at 1.3 million youth rides overall.

The highlight of the day is the presentation of five scholarships to aspiring pilots taking place at 11:30 a.m. Scholarships are provided by the EAA to be used for the Aero Scholars Program.

Aero Scholars Program

The Aero Scholars Program was introduced this spring through the Palmyra-Eagle Area School District, the University of Utah and the EAA.

"It's online computer-based training for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors interested in a career or hobby in aviation," Sorge said.

The program is two semesters and students receive five college credits, EAA membership and free admission to the EAA AirVenture Museum for $285, bearing in mind that the EAA organizes several scholarships each year.

"(The course) links practical applications of math, science and physics with principals of aviation," Sorge said.

"After two semesters with a B average students are automatically endorsed to take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private written exam."

Under normal circumstances, one must have a private flight instructor and lessons and pay an additional fee to take the FAA written exam.

"We currently have five students enrolled in the program and on May 6 they will each be receiving a scholarship award from the Palmyra Flying Club and from the EAA Chapter 1177," he said.

"It's a way to kick-start a career path or an economic way to earn college credits," Sorge said. "And we're always looking for corporate sponsors."

Families and school representatives are encouraged to attend the event. For more information, call Sorge at (262) 594-2224.



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